Awesome hits the surf zone

After months in front of the computer it is time to get Awesome on water!

The CAD drawing of Awesome has been materialized into the very prototype and the Awesome kayak is ready to hit the water.

The prototype is made in composite while the final version will be in PE. The big investment when making a new kayak model is the mould and when it is made it is close to impossible to change. That is why the development process of new plast kayaks starts with a composite prototype to allow for changes before the final design is approved.

The designprocess of a new kayak can be divided into 8 phases:

  1. A draft sketch of the kayak’s dimensions, details and volume
  2. 3D drawing (CAD) based on the sketch
  3. 1:1 Prototype based on the CAD drawing
  4. Prototype testing and adjustment
  5. Final CAD-drawing based on prototype test
  6. Production aluminium mould
  7. Preparation of mould for production
  8. Development of parts eg. seat, thigh braces and bulkhead

First test on the water

Awesome is the third kayak from DesignKayaks. All our kayaks are own design and with Awesome we complete our assortment with a kayak made for play, waves, surf and technic. It is easy to paddle, but especially more experienced paddlers and instructors will be able to take advantage of the qualities of Awesome.

Søren Groth Telling is the co-founder of DesignKayaks and the designer behind  our two other kayak models Unplugged and Endless. In the development process of Awesome Søren teamed up with some of Denmark’s most passionate kayakers when it comes to surf and technic: David Tetzschner, Tue Olesen og Nicolai Riis.

South Africa a surfing paradise

All DesignKayaks are produced in South Africa and this is also where the prototype of Awesome has been made. To test the prototype Søren and David travelled to South Africa. The coast is a mecca for surferes with endless coasts where waves come in from the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. This is also ideal for testing Awesome.

Starting on flat water

While Søren and David are eager to test Awesome in the big waves the first day is spend on flat water. The purpose is to observe how Awesome reacts look at the waterline and how it is impacted by weight distribution in the kayak.

The Design

Awesome it designed with the wish to make an extremely maneuverable kayak with excellent performance i the surfzone. 

Awesome is 4.75 cm long and 56 cm wide giving you ultimate maneuverability. A flat hull design and extrended water line for both bow and stern provides good tracking combined with high level of agility. The hull has a sharp edge giving extra volume to perform in white water. Awesome comes in mid volume and will produced in 3-layer PE.

Evaluation after first test on water

After the very first test we are generally very satisfied with the overall design, but there are still room for optimization of trimning and tracking. Testing on calm water made it obvious to see the front of the kayak levitate too much out of the water. 

Another need for optimization is to add more volume to the front to improve performance in the big waves and surfzone. We believe we can solve this by making the front deeper and thereby also improve tracking.

To do this we need to send Awesome back to the workshop and cut it up and start making the adjustments.

At the workshop
Back at the workshop they are very surprised and ask if we are not satisfied with the kayak? We are – very much! But we want it to be perfect. After some discussions forth and back on how to change the prototype the team at the workshop are all up for the taks. The prototype is cut up and more volume and waterline is added. The seat is moved 5 cm forward to make more space along the sides. Long after normal working hours we are done and go home highly excited to get on the water next day. – However we have to accept it takes time for the composite to harden and we have to wait til midday before the modified prototype is ready.

The ocean is calling!
The coast along Victoria Bay and George are perfect for testing an ocean playboat like Awesome. Even on a calm day big waves are rolling in and out.

Before hitting the surfzone we need to videofilm the adjustments on calm water and we get all into details and it takes a lot longer than planned.

Finally  close to sunset we get to the old railway bridge at Kaaimans River. The waves are fierce and the surf is crazy. After a short discussion we have to conclude that it will be irresponsible to go out. Feeling a bit down we decide to make it a day and go out for dinner. Discussing the outcome of the day we are really happy with the outcome and eager to get out next day!

Tested to the max!
Well rested and with a whole day in front of us we are ready for the waves. The weather is perfect and we take a drive along the coast to find the perfect spot. A little south of Wilderness the waves are a bit friendlier for South African conditions and we decide for this to be the right spot. This confirms that Awesome perform as expected and now we are ready to hit the big waves!

We move to Herolds Bay where we find exactly the surf we are looking for to test Awesome to the max. David who have won probably any possible surf kayak competition in Denmark is ready to take Awesome out. Together David and Awesome – makes nothing less than an awesome couple! If we had been happy and excited the previously days it is nothing compared to today! You can see why in the video.

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